F1 driver Lewis Hamilton has powered into the annals of grand prix history by clinching his fifth world title.
Hamilton has joined an elite club with his latest championship – the great Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio, who also won five world titles and the legendary Michael Schumacher, holder of a record seven titles.
Hamilton’s achievement is even more remarkable when the championship still has two races to go but he is untouchable.
And his success is against a backdrop of rivals Ferrari proving they have the fastest car ahead of his Mercedes.
The title was won with driving skill and verve, not the best technology on the track.
There’s Hamilton and the rest
The stats show Mercedes only had the fastest car in eight of the 19 races so far.
Luck has been on Hamilton’s side as well. His driving has been virtually flawless, his car technically sound, while his rival Sebastian Vettel has been forced into errors trying to keep up with the pace.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said Hamilton was the difference between Mercedes, Ferrari and the rest.
“This is the best Lewis Hamilton I have seen in the last six years,” Wolff said. “He has driven better, he has been better out of the car. Very, very complete.”
“Perhaps his biggest strength has been keeping his calm and holding his nerve. We had times when the car was good enough to win and times when the car was not good enough to win. But he was very stable.
Schumacher record in sight
“It is the ability of combining talent with hard work, intellect and emotional intelligence. All great champions have all four of them. If one is missing, you can still be a successful racing driver but you are never going to achieve this greatness.”
What’s next for Hamilton?
If he can maintain his ambition and concentration, Schumacher’s record is within reach. Hamilton is still only 33 years old and has a lot of driving left in him, providing he has the strength of character to go up through the gears when no one else is really competing at his level consistently.
Hamilton rates Schumacher as the greatest ever F1 driver, but will still look over his shoulder at Vettel, who has four world titles to his name.